climate change

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  • IPA(key): /ˈklaɪmət ˌtʃeɪndʒ/
  • (file)


climate change (usually uncountable, plural climate changes)

  1. Natural large-scale and long-term change in the Earth's climatic system, as brought about by ice ages.
  2. Rapid, large-scale, and long-term change in the Earth's climatic system produced by global warming; anthropogenic climate change.
    • 2013 September-October, Michael Sivak, “Will AC Put a Chill on the Global Energy Supply?”, in American Scientist:
      Nevertheless, it is clear that the global energy demand for air-conditioning will grow substantially as nations become more affluent, with the consequences of climate change potentially accelerating the demand.
    • 2019 October, Roger Ford, “WCP award - victory for DfT reactionaries”, in Modern Railways, page 31:
      If you are serious about climate change a rolling programme of electrification is the only rational policy.
    • 2023 December 27, Richard Foster, “Building a greener future”, in RAIL, number 999, page 34:
      Both the UK and Europe have experienced record summer temperatures in the past couple of years, which have brought home the fact that climate change is happening.

Usage notes[edit]

  • May be treated (in the sense “anthropogenic climate change”) as a synonym of global warming in informal contexts, particularly in regions where climate science is contested by political actors.[1] This conflation is not widespread in scientific contexts, where it may be regarded as incorrect.[2]
  • Some newspapers and journalists now prefer the terms climate crisis, climate emergency, or climate breakdown.[3]



  1. ^ Jennifer 8. Lee , quoting Frank Luntz (2003-03-02), “A Call for Softer, Greener Language”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN: “In his memorandum, Mr. Luntz urges that the term “climate change” be used instead of “global warming,” because while global warming has catastrophic communications attached to it, climate change sounds a more controllable and less emotional challenge.”
  2. ^ Erik Conway (2008-12-05), “What's in a Name? Global Warming vs. Climate Change”, in NASA[2], archived from the original on 2019-11-14
  3. ^ Damian Carrington (2019-05-17), “Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment”, in The Guardian[3] (in English)

Further reading[edit]